I have often heard teachers say that they love everything about their jobs, except dealing with parents.
I believe a similar situation can unfortunately happen in youth soccer.
Most parents are genuinely nice people who want their children to enjoy a fun sport, but when something gets in the way of their child, or if they feel their precious bundle of joy has been slighted in any way, look out!
Parents can often create extremely frustrating moments for a coach but there are ways that you can pacify the situation if you keep your head cool.
One situation that always invigorates an angry parent is when they feel their child has not been given appropriate playing time in the team.
Perhaps they feel that their kid needs to start more games, or they are frustrated that their child has been substituted too often.
The way to respond depends on the age level and competitiveness of the league that you are coaching. If you are playing in a young, U-8 league, the children should all have roughly equal amounts of playing time, as well as starting roles.
Tell the parents you will start them in the next game and then do it.
The parents simply want to see their child play, however, if you are already making sure that everyone gets equal playing time, express this to the parents so they understand that everyone cannot play at the same time.
The real issue comes when you are playing for a challenge league or high school team that is competitive.
If a parent is complaining, you need to express to them that their child needs to play better.
Perhaps you can suggest that they train more when not with the team so that they can improve.
If someone has an attitude and thatís why he or she is on the bench, communicate that to the parent. They wonít like to hear it, but let them know that if your decision is so tough to take, perhaps the child should quit the team.
Another issue that parents create in youth soccer is by yelling at the referee or saying rude things to the other team during matches.
This doesnít happen too often, but if you notice that a parent is creating problems in their sideline antics you need to express this to them.
Some parents get too excited when watching their children play, but if they start swearing or yelling, you may need to take them aside and ask them to take it down a notch.
If the problem persists, contact your league office about how to best fix the problem.
Dealing with parents must be done with the utmost respect and calm. No one likes to be chastised, especially if they are angry about the way their child is being treated in their soccer team.
Often times, a parent will have a legitimate issue to bring up to you and you need to express care and hear them out.
If the problem is fixable, make sure you can do it so that them and their children will enjoy the soccer season as much as possible.